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Executives from all 30 MLB teams spent time under the same roof last week for the annual General Managers Meetings. There are rarely any significant trades or signings that occur during this period. The definitive transactions of interest are regarding player opt-outs and qualifying offers. GMs and players, along with their agents, are also spending time discussing the groundwork for potential trades and signings. The blockbuster deals of the offseason often come to completion during the Winter Meetings, which take place in early December. However, there is plenty of rumor speculation to be the subject of intrigue in the baseball world now that the meetings have concluded.

The New Dugout Boss

Chicago White Sox GM Rick Hahn was in attendance and spoke on several topics. Before the meetings, the Sox filled an important vacancy when they hired Pedro Grifol to replace Tony La Russa. La Russa, who takes a more old-school approach to baseball, stepped down due to health reasons.

Hahn was asked about analytics and confirmed that those metrics will play a bigger role in on-field decisions than they did during the last regime.

Player Moves

A very notable player-related transaction occurred during the meetings when outfielder AJ Pollock opted out of his contract. Pollock walks away from the White Sox as a free agent after the $5 million contract buyout. Hahn, unprompted, spoke about a potential replacement for Pollock in right field.

"We think a lot of Oscar Colas," the Sox GM said. "Don’t lose sight of that. Doesn’t mean there won’t be external outfield additions but I don’t want him to get lost in your offseason analyses of where we are."

“We’ll head to camp and see where we’re at,” Hahn said of the Cuban-born 24-year-old. “Obviously, there will be offseason check-ins as well and see where the progress is at. But he impressed us last year and is on a real good trajectory to contribute in a meaningful way as soon as next year.”

Deploying Colas in right field alongside fellow Cuban Luis Robert in center should improve the White Sox' outfield defense, which was a significant problem in 2022. The most glaring defensive issues in the outfield came in left field with Andrew Vaughn, who is naturally a first baseman, manning the position.

Hahn also made some comments about Eloy Jimenez’s success as the DH last season. This a telling comment that leads one to believe some tough decisions are going to be made. 

The End of an Era

"Vaughn is a first baseman. That’s how he was drafted," Hahn said. "Does it mean he’s going to be our first baseman next year? Not necessarily. He wasn’t either of the past two seasons ... but in the end, his best defensive position is first base, and perhaps when the time comes he ultimately settles into that position you are asking a lot less of him, and perhaps that even increases his offensive production as a result."

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These comments should indicate what has been all but confirmed at this point: the departure of Jose Abreu.

“If he’s not with us next year, he’ll be missed,” Hahn said. “It’s good that we’re insulated from a production standpoint against that departure. But certainly would never disrespect the importance he’s meant to this organization.”

Payroll and Needs

If we read between the lines, this should signal the end of Jose Abreu’s career with the Chicago White Sox, a move to first base by Andrew Vaughn, and Eloy Jimenez as the DH. That leaves left field as a glaring area of need along with second base and starting pitcher.

"Second base, we obviously have internal options right now, Romy, Leury and Mendick, Sosa, but it is an area where we feel we will spend some time this offseason to see if there’s a way to get better," Hahn explained. The White Sox declined starting second basemen Josh Harrison’s option, leaving a vacancy at the position.

Colas and Vaughn are on their rookie contracts, which should provide some financial resources to invest elsewhere.

“My general expectations are that [payroll] will be somewhere in the vicinity of where it was in 2022 ($193 million), but I don’t have a firm number in hand just yet.” The White Sox GM has also discussed the trade market being more fruitful than free agency this offseason.

RELATED: White Sox Rumors: Lucas Giolito on the Trade Block

Tea Leaves

Rick Hahn’s lawyerly vernacular rarely provides any clarity to his offseason machinations. He did speak a bit on payroll, Oscar Colas, analytics, and the makeup of the 2023 roster but left out any convincing substance. Hahn will try to maneuver the financial resources he has to improve the team through trades, per his words.

The Chicago White Sox' main areas of need are second base, left field, and starting pitcher. As expected by many, Hahn hopes to see improvement from underperforming players and better health in 2023.

“A big part of our improvement will come from that area, we hope,” he said.

Nevertheless, MLB's offseason is in full swing and we should expect to see teams pulling the trigger on trades and free agents inking new deals in the coming weeks.